Yael Korem 2016-2017

Institution of PhD:
Weizmann Institute of Science
Academic Discipline of PhD:
Molecular Biology
PhD Advisor/s:
Prof. Uri Alon
Dissertation Topic:
Optimal Division of Labor in Cells and Tissues
Institution of Postdoc:
Yale University
Present Institution:
Yale University
Present Academic Position:
Postdoctoral Fellow

Yael, a resident of Bet Lehem Ha’glilit  in northern Israel sought simple, elegant mathematical tools in high school to describe and understand complex systems. This led her to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she completed her BSc in physics in  the Amirim interdisciplinary honors program for outstanding students. Realizing that the advent of new technologies calls for quantitative approaches to the most fascinating, fundamental questions, her MSc studies in mathematics and computer science at the Weizmann Institute of Science focused on bioinformatics. With her advisor, Prof. Uri Alon, she offered a framework for understanding high dimensional single-cell gene expression data by applying a theory of multi-objective systems, and demonstrated how this framework can be useful in analyzing data from various organisms and tissues. She presented her work at an international conference and published in Plos Computational Biology; the paper was later selected as the editor’s choice in Science magazine. In cooperation with Dr. Oded Rechavi’s lab at Tel Aviv University, Yael modeled the epigenetic inheritance mechanism of C. Elegance; this study appeared in Cell.

Today, she continues her PhD studies in Prof. Alon’s lab, seeking general design principles in biology. She is working on modeling various strategies for task allocation between cells in a tissue, seeking to discover the guiding principles behind strategy selection. In addition, she is using dynamic systems tools to model resource allocation for cellular tasks in E. coli.

Hoping to make science more accessible to the public, Yael served as a guide at the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem and volunteered in a school in Lod. She currently teaches  bioinformatics and writes articles on popular science for the Weizmann Institute educational website, Davidson On-line.